The Trial of Dan White: Trial Testimony of Carl Carlson
Source: The Trial of Dan White by Kenneth W. Salter (1991)


Q Mr. Carlson, may I ask you what your occupation is, please?

A I'm an airline pilot.

Q Did you have any connection with the late Supervisor Harvey Milk of District Five?

A Well, at the time of his death I was a volunteer staff aide. Transportation consultant. He was also my tenant in the building, and we're close personal friends.

Q Inviting your attention sir, to Monday the 27th of November last year, do you recall if you saw the late Supervisor Milk at some time during the morning of that day?

A Yes, I did. . . .

Q On that particular day, and in the morning sometime, did you have occasion to see Mr. Daniel White?

A Yes, I did.

Q Where were you and where was he when you saw him?

A I was in Harvey's inner office when Mr. White came in, or stuck his head in the door at about 10:55 or 10:58. Almost 11:00 o'clock. And then when Mr. White was leaving his office about two or three minutes later was the second time I saw him.

Q Do you recall in what manner Mr. White announced himself?

A He appeared at the door which was normally left open. Stuck his head in and asked, “Say, Harv, can I see you for a minute?"

Q What did Harvey Milk do at the time, if anything?

A He turned around. He was facing the back wall of the office. He turned around and said, "Sure” and got up and went across the hall.

Q Do you know where he went across the hall?

A He went to the office designated as Daniel White's.

Q After Harvey Milk and Mr. Daniel White went across the hall to Mr. Daniel White's previous office, would you tell us what next you heard or saw?

A I went back to what I was working on. A few seconds later, probably, 10, 15 seconds later, I heard a shot, or the sound of gunfire. After the shot I heard Harvey Milk scream, "Oh, no," And then the first-the first part of the second, "no," which was then cut short by the second shot.

Q How many sounds of shots did you hear altogether, Mr. Carlson?

A Five or six. I really didn't consciously count them.

Q After hearing these five or six shots altogether, did you remain seated at your desk?

A I was standing up at that time wondering what the noise was. It didn't consciously register as gunfire. I thought perhaps an automobile or truck on Van Ness Avenue was backfiring.

Q Did you go to the door of Harvey Milk's office and make any investigation of any sort?

A Well, at that time, I was standing in the doorway. I had gotten up from the typewriter. I was standing in the hallway facing the door.

Q As you did that, did you see anybody come out of the office which had at one time been occupied by Mr. Daniel White?

A Yes, I did.

Q What did you see in that regard?

A A few moments later the door opened, the door opened and Daniel White walked out, rushed out, and proceeded down the hall to the north end, . . .and left via the doorway to the corridor.

Q Could you describe Mr. White's gait as he left that office, and went out the door of Room 237?

A He was very definitely in a hurry.

Q Did he appear to be running, though?

A No

Q Do you remember if you saw anybody else at that particular time following those shots who worked in the office?

A After Daniel White had exited out the doorway, I remember Diane Feinstein coming out of her office, which was just opposite the doorway that Daniel White exited.

Q Now, Mr. Carlson, when you saw Mr. Daniel White the first time when he appeared at the office of Harvey Milk and he inquired of Harvey Milk, "Say, Harv, can I see you for a minute," could you describe his tone of voice in any way?

A  He appeared to be very normal, usual friendly self. I didn't-I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. It was just very typical Dan White.

Q Did there appear to be anything urgent in the tone of his voice?

A  Not at all.


Q Mr. Carlson, you mentioned you had been associated with Harvey Milk for a good period of time, is that correct?

A  That's right.

Q Had you worked for him, in previous campaigns?

A Yes, I had.

Q Harvey Milk was considered to be a leader in the gay or homosexual community, is that fair?

A Yes, he was.

Q Would it be fair to say that Harvey Milk and Dan White were political opposites?

A It would be a fair proximation.

Q Nonetheless, did you detect any personal animosity between the two men?

A I never did, no.

Q Did Mr. White on any occasion that you saw him around City Hall appear to be cordial?

A As cordial as anybody else in that situation, yes.

Q Were you aware that prior to November 27th, 1978, Dan White was under a lot of pressure?

A I wasn't personally aware of it, no. I knew there had been some problems.

Q Had you ever expressed yourself regarding the pressures?

A No.

Q Mr. Carlson, on the very morning of November 27th, 1978, you did make a taped statement, did you not?

A Yes, I did.

Q You made that taped statement in response to questioning from a police officer?

A  Yes, I did.

Q Having read these last few lines on Page 6, does that refresh your recollection, sir, as to whether or not you had expressed yourself regarding pressure on Dan White?

A Perhaps, I misunderstood the first question. Are you referring to my expressing feelings before or after the assassinations?

Q Well, perhaps my question was vague, but I was asking whether or not you were aware of, or had ever expressed that you knew that pressure had been exerted on Dan White. That he was under a lot of pressure?

A Well, other than the statement you have in front of you, no, it never had been discussed. I had never discussed it with anybody else.

Q In fact, you do state here in response to the question regarding pressure: 

[Reading] "He was exceptionally cordial for an individual in his-"

"Q Who are you talking about now?"

Answer by you: "A Dan, for an individual who had been under a lot of pressure for the last two weeks."


A Right.